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Oliver Springs H.S. parents, students concerned over school's future


(WBIR-Kingston) At Monday night's Roane County Commission meeting, there was plenty of gold and purple mixed in the audience. Those are the colors of Oliver Springs High School, and wearing those colors were people concerned over their school's future.

"From the rumors we've heard, they're trying to shut down Oliver Springs, and we don't want that," said freshman Jordan Haney. He was one of the dozen or so members of the OSHS Bobcats in the audience Monday night.

"Show we love Oliver Springs," he added.

Roane County Director of Schools Gary Aytes said right now those rumors of closure are just that -- rumors.

He said since the Board of Education has not begun talks over the 2015-2016 school year, there are no plans to close any school, including OSHS.

"I was so glad to hear the commission to hear that's what they're looking for: to see support for the schools," Aytes said.

He said in order for the school to stay even without cuts, then Roane County needs $53 million in the school budget. Last year, the schools received $50 million.

If they get the same dollar figure again next year, without any extra help, like a tax increase, then they would have to look at alternate options, and cutting a school like Oliver Springs could be on the table.

"There's the capacity restrictions of all the schools, the geographic restrictions of where our schools are located in the county," said Aytes.

Students would be moved, if hypothetically this happened, to either Harriman High School or Roane County High School in Kingston, which are 20 and 30 minutes away from Oliver Springs, respectively.

Parents feel this could create a 'domino-effect' of sorts.

It's not just affecting Oliver Springs, it would affect the entire county. Kids from Roane County may not go there because of a rezone or a redistrict," said parent Kimberly Walls.

Students, though, hope for the best.

"BFL," said freshman Haney. "Bobcat for Life."


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